Walt Disney World will be bringing back thousands of Cast Members in the coming weeks. The news comes from Eric Clinton, who leads the Local 362 union. The news was shared with the union and also on social media. The return will find some Cast Members being shuffled around to replace college interns.
According to the union, in June all Disney full-time attractions and custodian Cast Members, as well as many part-time Cast Members will be returning to work. Union members that previously were working at the water parks, vacation planners, and other Cast Members at closed Disney properties could be transferred to other locations that will need extra workers.
Up to 8,000 Cast Members could be returning to work, according to Clinton. Cast Members for Disney Vacation Club hotels and the Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground will be reopening on June 22nd. The Walt Disney World Resort parks will begin reopening on July 11th.
“With a focus on the health and wellness of our cast members and guests, we have worked with the unions on a thoughtful plan to bring thousands of our existing cast members back to work as soon as possible in a safe and responsible way,” Disney spokeswoman Andrea Finger said.
According to Clinton, Disney is going to need Cast Members to clean around ride queues and also help maintain social distancing while guests wait in line to get temperature checks before entering the parks.
The Disney College Program won’t be returning when the parks reopening, Clinton confirmed saying, “If anyone thinks that college program workers are coming back anytime soon, they are mistaken.” International Cast Members from EPCOT also will not be returning immediately either Clinton confirmed. Disney does hope to bring them back eventually.
Cast Members will also be needed to staff Spaceship Earth which has had its refurbishment postponed indefinitely Clinton also confirmed. Beyond that, it isn’t sure what attractions will remain open and which will end up closed for the foreseeable future. What shows will or won’t be open also are unknown. It is also quite possible that attractions will close for part of the day for cleaning.
“Disney has not shared those details with us,” Clinton said. “What we do know is there’s going to be a massive need for attractions workers across property. … There’s going to be a lot of work that needs to be done.”
Disney has confirmed that there will be no fireworks, parades, or character meet and greets when the parks reopen. This is to hopefully alleviate the congregating of crowds. Cast Members will also not be able to take photos with guest cell phones and will have to politely decline when asked.
“That’s how serious Disney is taking this,” Clinton said. “That’s a very different Disney World you all worked at back in March.”
According to Clinton, Disney is doing a really good job of communicating with the union as both Disney and the union deal with a completely new set of circumstances and figure out how to move forward.
Cast Members who are uncomfortable returning to work at Disney due to underlying health conditions or that of a family member can postpone their recall or may take a leave of absence after a certain point. Cast Members will be given temperature checks at work. Those who do not pass will be sent home and get paid time off to quarantine.
All of this news comes one week after Walt Disney World Resort announced its reopening plan that was then approved by local and state authorities. It will have the Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom reopening on July 11th and EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios reopening on July 15th. Guests wishing to visit will need reservations. Disney Dining reservations and Fastpass+ reservations have all been canceled, as have extra magic hours. When the parks reopen, guests will be required to undergo temperature screening and also wear facemasks.